Doctors Without Borders team to running to save more lives

Jeev Sahni is an avid runner and everyday athlete, has set ambitious goals for himself, aiming to complete 1 000 marathons by the time he turns 60.

Jeev Sahni is an avid runner and everyday athlete, has set ambitious goals for himself, aiming to complete 1 000 marathons by the time he turns 60.

Published Apr 11, 2024


The Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon will witness not only athletic competition, but also the power of individuals coming together to support worthy causes, and a team supporting Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Southern Africa will be running to save lives.

Each of the 20 MSF runners has a target of R2 000 to raise and are hoping to exceed this.

Among the group lacing up their shoes for the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon is 33-year-old principal consultant Jeev Sahni.

Sahni, an avid runner and everyday athlete, has set ambitious goals for himself, aiming to complete 1 000 marathons by the time he turns 60.

Born and raised in India, Sahni said his commitment to giving back to his community was instilled in him from a young age, earning him a silver medal from the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Foundation.

His dedication to social impact and holistic health-care access led him to support MSF, an organisation renowned for its delivery of medical aid in the most challenging environments globally.

“My professional journey, navigating complex terrains of global healthcare access, naturally inclined my heart towards MSF.

“Their ethos of providing medical aid where it's most needed resonates deeply with my principles of equity and access in health care,” Sahni said.

“In many ways, the race is a physical manifestation of this dedication.

You could call it a tangible expression of my belief that individual efforts, no matter how small, can ripple through the fabric of society, forcing change where it’s needed.”

Having experienced his own mental health struggles, including complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), Sahni said he understood the importance of accessible mental health care.

“The challenges children with mental health struggles face, without adequate support, reflect a systemic failure that can no longer be ignored.

My personal journey is a testament to the belief that access to mental health care is a fundamental right,” he said.

On the upcoming race, he said he was excited to experience the local coastline and also felt a “deep sense of purpose” running for a good cause.

“I’m very excited. I can’t wait to experience the length and breadth of South Africa’s beautiful coastline, as I also carry a baton of mental health awareness with me. Every stride carries a weight beyond the physical; it’s a testament to a cause greater than oneself.

The knowledge that with each step, I am contributing to change and this fuels an inner fire; a relentless drive that transcends any amount of fatigue I endure from the onset of the race and throughout.

“And hence, I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

According to MSF’s Donor Retentions manager, Florence Najjemba, the funds raised would go directly towards the medical humanitarian work that MSF does in over 70 countries around the world.

“This fund-raising event is centred on doing what you love while saving lives.

“Most of the past experiences have been full of fun, as well as impactful.

When we share our annual impact report with donors, they will be able to see how we used their donations and how many lives we saved together.”

In South Africa, MSF’s recently launched project is tackling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Amathole district in Butterworth, Eastern Cape. MSF said data from the provincial health department indicated that NCDs such as Type 2 diabetes and hypertension account for half of all deaths in the district, including a major proportion of deaths of people over the age of 50.

“MSF recognises the challenges faced by rural communities in accessing health care, and it is for this reason that we identified the Amathole district community to support with a patient-centric differentiated service delivery model (DSD) of medical care in collaboration with the Eastern Cape Department of Health.

“Drawing on experience from our NCD projects in other parts of the world, the project seeks to ensure that people living with chronic diseases have stable and accessible health care to manage their condition safely,” said Eastern Cape NCDs Project, project co-ordinator, Manighandan Sivaramakrishnan.

Cape Times